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A closer look at the Eagles’ 2020 NFC East match-ups

The NFL’s 2020 regular season schedule was revealed Thursday night, and now the Philadelphia Eagles know exactly who they’ll have to prepare for and when.

Headlining the schedule are some tough tests against the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers – all teams who made the playoffs last season. Mixed in were also tough games against the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, and Pittsburgh Steelers, which should be intriguing to see as well.

One thing that didn’t change are the six showdowns against their NFC East division rivals, with all eyes pointed at the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys have arguably been the most impressive off-season team among their NFC East brethren after having a strong draft featuring University of Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, and the signings of free agents Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and HaHa Clinton-Dix.

However, the Eagles will be in the mix to repeat as division champions this year after bringing in talented players like Jalen Reagor, Darius Slay, Javon Hargrave, and Marquise Goodwin.

Here’s a closer look at the six NFC East match-ups coming up this fall:

Like last season, Philadelphia Eagles will kick off the new season against a divisional opponent with a visit to D.C. and the Washington Redskins. Ron Rivera’s squad will host Doug Pederson and co. at FedEx Field on September 13 at 1 p.m., opening the NFL season for both teams.

The Eagles have owned this rivalry, winning the last six head-to-head meetings and outscoring Washington by an average of 10 points per game. I think starting on the road will be a tough test, but a good one for Carson Wentz and this Eagles offense to kick off what is expected to be a difficult campaign. After all, they are facing a first-place schedule after winning the division last season.

After five consecutive games outside of the NFC East, the Eagles’ second night game falls on Week 7 (Oct. 22) at Lincoln Financial Field against the New York Giants. Like the Redskins, the Giants will be looking to rebound from several disappointing seasons, but Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones could provide Joe Judge and new offensive coordinator but familiar face Jason Garrett, a nice nucleus to give the visitors a chance. This won’t be the same Giants that the Eagles have owned in recent history. The last win the Giants have against the Birds came on November 6, 2016.

With the Eagles coming into this Thursday night showdown off a short week, and against a strong Baltimore Ravens team, it will be important to get an early grip on the division lead. The October 22 showdown at The Linc will also be the Eagles’ second game of a three-game homestand, which concludes the following weekend against the Dallas Cowboys.

Should the Eagles pick up wins over both New York and Dallas in back-to-back games, they could be sitting pretty at 3-0 in NFC East match-ups heading into a Week 9 bye.

Following the bye, the Eagles will visit MetLife Stadium for their second and final regular season meeting with the Giants. Just as important as going into the bye week on a high note, the Eagles will look to do the same coming into the final stretch of the regular season.

The Giants definitely play tougher at their home stadium, but this is a game that the Eagles will need to win in a tough environment. Just like their dominance against the Redskins, the Eagles have won six of their last seven against the Giants on the road.

Similar to the 2019 season, the Eagles could find the final two games of the regular season must-wins if they want to make the playoffs. After an absolutely ridiculous stretch of tough games in December, the Eagles close out their schedule with a trip to Dallas in Week 16 and a home date with Washington to close out the regular season.

The visit to Jerry World will be the more daunting with the Cowboys aiming to beat the Eagles to an NFC East crown. In addition, the Eagles have lost two straight at Dallas and three of the last five head-to-head meetings, including a 37-10 walloping last October.

If the Eagles want to make the postseason in 2020 and come away with the NFC East crown, Week 16 may be the biggest game on the schedule with what’s at stake. Another showdown between Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz surely will be entertaining, but the defense may be the key factor at AT&T Stadium.

No game in the NFL is a gimme, but the Eagles should be able to win at home in Week 17. It seems unlikely that Washington will be a threat for the division title in 2020, but they could play a spoiler role against the Birds at The Linc on January 3. Regardless, this is a game the Eagles should dominate just like their past head-to-head meetings with Washington.

Overall, the Eagles will find it tough to make the playoffs with numerous top teams in the NFC in addition to the rejuvenation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are in Florida. However, should they stay the course and play to their full potential in every game, who knows what could happen in 2020?

You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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